At the risk of posting too much Trumpiana, I have to highlight this comment from reader St. Louisan:
National Review ran a piece this week taking Trump fans and other GOP rebels to task for failing to appreciate mainline Conservatism’s achievements, and putting them at risk. But this is what the piece gives as the “cornucopia of significant changes” for which Bush-weary voters should be grateful:
“the marginalization of wage and price controls, and of other centralizing tools; the lowering of destructive tax rates on income and other forms of wealth; the deregulation of a significant number of major industries; a renewed focus on national sovereignty; the successful reform of the welfare system; a consensus around free trade; a much lower minimum wage; a focus on both the text and the original meaning of the Constitution when discussing limits on government power; the restoration of the right to keep and bear arms; the stronger protection of freedom of expression; a national partial-birth-abortion ban; the death of speech-killing “campaign-finance reform”; and, lest we forget, the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet Union.”
If you’re working class, come from a depressed industrial town, or have been looking for work or stressed by economic insecurity, what on that list are you going to feel appreciative of? Lower taxes for people richer than you? Deregulation of industries that either laid you off or wrecked the economy? Free trade, so you could compete against Chinese workers making a fraction of your pay? A lower minimum wage?
There are things in that list to cheer the GOP’s donor class, to keep the NRA and national security hawks on board, and to mollify social conservatives. But there’s nothing, nothing at all, for you if your biggest concern is economic instability, depressed wages and torpid job growth, long-term unemployment or underemployment, and or rising inequality and over-concentration of wealth. It’s like the conservative movement is betting everything on no right-leaning voters being focused on those things, and don’t even realize it because those concerns haven’t occurred to them. At best, there’s the same ancient reliance on trickle-down economics that’s been stale since 1996.
There was actually a bit more to the NR piece, by Charles C.W. Cooke than St. Louisan indicates, but he’s basically right.
In related news, Chris Cillizza of the WaPo asks a great question. After going over the polling data, he says:
Why isn’t Trump being covered as the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican nominee?
Substitute any other Republican in the race into Trump’s current position. There is a 100 percent chance that that person would be touted as the prohibitive favorite or the odds-on nominee. Imagine Marco Rubio — he of the third-place finish in Iowa and fifth-place finish in New Hampshire — with the same poll numbers as Trump in South Carolina, Nevada, and beyond. The coronation would be on. Hell, Rubio is now seen as a likely third-place finisher in South Carolina — behind Trump and Cruz — and laurels are virtually being thrown at his feet.
Cillizza goes on to say it’s because the media and the GOP establishment still cannot believe what they’re seeing. They still have hope that Trump’s going to blow his campaign up, or that the GOP wise men are going to figure out how to stop him. The idea of a Trump-as-Republican-nominee is so horrifying that they are still living in denial.
I think Cillizza’s right, and more: the fact that Trump is doing so phenomenally well means that Republican Party and conservative movement conventional wisdom for a long, long time has been … wrong. And that, in their minds, cannot be true. Charles C.W. Cooke’s NR piece says, “Had the conservative movement not held the line since 2008, Americans would have seen the quick death of the Bush tax cuts…”.
Yeah, what is wrong with those Trump voters. Republicans preserved the Bush tax cuts! Don’t they know they never had it so good?